CUs First to Join With United Way for New Charitable Giving Program

A new program partners financial insitutions and United Way in order to facilitate members' charitable giving per debit or credit transaction.


According to, 50% of all charitable donations are given between the day after Thanksgiving and the end of the year. A new effort dubbed Pennies for Change allows members of financial institutions to have one cent per transaction donated to United Way. Five credit unions and seven banks are listed as charter members of Pennies for Change. Westchester FCU ($27M in White Plains, NY) is the first financial institution to go live with help from processor Covera Card Solutions. This program represents an opportunity for credit unions in several areas.

Generation Y
According to an online study conducted by Cone, Inc and AMP Insights, 61% of 13 to 25 year olds feel personally responsible for making a difference in the world. The combination of charitable giving, social networks and technology can dramatically increase the number of potential donors. Online communities such as Facebook have offered transparency to charitable giving and connected it to the most socially conscious generation.

Greater Giving Opportunities
Doug True, SVP of Technovation at Forum Credit Union ($1.05B in Indianapolis, IN) views Pennies for Change as the beginning step in broadening charitable giving across the organization. The credit union already donates employee time and money but realizes this is an easy – and complementary – way for members to get involved. At the end of each month, members who opted-in will have a service fee added to his or her statement for one cent/transaction. A cent per transaction may not sound like much, but with 40 billion card transactions each year, the pennies can add up.

As the Pennies for Change program currently filters the funds into regional United Way offices, the money stays within the community, allowing the credit union to market their community ties towards member value. Deserie Peregory, a representative for the program from United Way, said that member financial institutions will have access to stock marketing materials. Initial charter members were also reimbursed for any implementation costs.

Pennies for Change is part of a wider trend in philanthropy that is attempting to democratize charitable giving. Steve Case, founder of AOL, launched America's Giving Challenge on Thursday, in an effort to link “regular folks” and a database of searchable causes. Earlier this year actor Kevin Bacon formed, a campaign to get people to donate online and solicit donations from friends and family. This program, though, specifically targets transactions, allowing for everyday giving. Credit unions interested in the program can contact Deserie Peregory of United Way at 703-836-7112 or visit United Way's informational site.




Dec. 17, 2007


  • To fully grasp the magnitude of how watching your pennies can add up, check out the Penny Harvest site. This is a group the enlists schools in new york to collect pennies for charity.